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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Louis Agassiz Quotes > Knowledge

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Louis Agassiz
(28 May 1807 - 14 Dec 1873)

Swiss-American naturalist and geologist who published several volumes describing and classifying fossil fish. He is also known for significant work on glacier activity.


Louis Agassiz Quotes on Knowledge (6 quotes)

>> Click for 39 Science Quotes by Louis Agassiz

>> Click for Louis Agassiz Quotes on | Earth | Evolution | Geology | God | Nature | Study | Teaching |

A smattering of everything is worth little. It is a fallacy to suppose that an encyclopaedic knowledge is desirable. The mind is made strong, not through much learning, but by the thorough possession of something.
— Louis Agassiz
Lecture at a teaching laboratory on Penikese Island, Buzzard's Bay. Quoted from the lecture notes by David Starr Jordan, Science Sketches (1911), 145.
Science quotes on:  |  Desirable (33)  |  Desire (212)  |  Encyclopaedia (3)  |  Everything (489)  |  Fallacy (31)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Learning (291)  |  Little (717)  |  Mind (1377)  |  Possession (68)  |  Smattering (2)  |  Something (718)  |  Strong (182)  |  Suppose (158)  |  Supposition (50)  |  Thorough (40)  |  Through (846)  |  Worth (172)

I will frankly tell you that my experience in prolonged scientific investigations convinces me that a belief in God—a God who is behind and within the chaos of vanishing points of human knowledge—adds a wonderful stimulus to the man who attempts to penetrate into the regions of the unknown.
— Louis Agassiz
As quoted in E.P. Whipple, 'Recollections of Agassiz', in Henry Mills Alden (ed.), Harper's New Monthly Magazine (June 1879), 59, 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (266)  |  Behind (139)  |  Belief (615)  |  Biography (254)  |  Chaos (99)  |  Convince (43)  |  Experience (494)  |  God (776)  |  Human (1512)  |  Investigation (250)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Man (2252)  |  Penetrate (68)  |  Point (584)  |  Prolong (29)  |  Research (753)  |  Scientific (955)  |  Stimulus (30)  |  Tell (344)  |  Unknown (195)  |  Vanishing (11)  |  Will (2350)  |  Wonderful (155)

It is better to have a few forms well known than to teach a little about many hundred species. Better a dozen specimens thoroughly studied as the result of the first year’s work, than to have two thousand dollars’ worth of shells and corals bought from a curiosity-shop. The dozen animals would be your own.
— Louis Agassiz
Lecture at a teaching laboratory on Penikese Island, Buzzard's Bay. Quoted from the lecture notes by David Starr Jordan, Science Sketches (1911), 147.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (651)  |  Better (493)  |  Buy (21)  |  Coral (10)  |  Curiosity (138)  |  Dollar (22)  |  Dozen (10)  |  First (1302)  |  Form (976)  |  Hundred (240)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Known (453)  |  Little (717)  |  Result (700)  |  Shell (69)  |  Shop (11)  |  Species (435)  |  Specimen (32)  |  Study (701)  |  Teach (299)  |  Teaching (190)  |  Thorough (40)  |  Thoroughly (67)  |  Thousand (340)  |  Two (936)  |  Work (1402)  |  Worth (172)  |  Year (963)

The world has arisen in some way or another. How it originated is the great question, and Darwin's theory, like all other attempts, to explain the origin of life, is thus far merely conjectural. I believe he has not even made the best conjecture possible in the present state of our knowledge.
— Louis Agassiz
In Evolution and Permanence of Type (1874), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (266)  |  Belief (615)  |  Best (467)  |  Conjecture (51)  |  Charles Darwin (322)  |  Explain (334)  |  Great (1610)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Life (1870)  |  Merely (315)  |  Origin (250)  |  Origin Of Life (37)  |  Other (2233)  |  Possibility (172)  |  Possible (560)  |  Present (630)  |  Question (649)  |  State (505)  |  Theory (1015)  |  Way (1214)  |  World (1850)

When chemists have brought their knowledge out of their special laboratories into the laboratory of the world, where chemical combinations are and have been through all time going on in such vast proportions,—when physicists study the laws of moisture, of clouds and storms, in past periods as well as in the present,—when, in short, geologists and zoologists are chemists and physicists, and vice versa,—then we shall learn more of the changes the world has undergone than is possible now that they are separately studied.
— Louis Agassiz
Geological Sketches (1866), 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (639)  |  Chemical (303)  |  Chemist (169)  |  Chemistry (376)  |  Cloud (111)  |  Combination (150)  |  Geologist (82)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Laboratory (214)  |  Law (913)  |  Learn (672)  |  Meteorology (36)  |  Moisture (21)  |  More (2558)  |  Past (355)  |  Period (200)  |  Physicist (270)  |  Physics (564)  |  Possible (560)  |  Present (630)  |  Proportion (140)  |  Short (200)  |  Special (188)  |  Storm (56)  |  Storms (18)  |  Study (701)  |  Through (846)  |  Time (1911)  |  Vast (188)  |  Vice (42)  |  World (1850)  |  Zoologist (12)

You cannot do without one specialty. You must have some base-line to measure the work and attainments of others. For a general view of the subject, study the history of the sciences. Broad knowledge of all Nature has been the possession of no naturalist except Humboldt, and general relations constituted his specialty.
— Louis Agassiz
Lecture at a teaching laboratory on Penikese Island, Buzzard's Bay. Quoted from the lecture notes by David Starr Jordan, Science Sketches (1911), 146.
Science quotes on:  |  Attainment (48)  |  Base (120)  |  Broad (28)  |  Do (1905)  |  General (521)  |  History (716)  |  History Of Science (80)  |  Baron Alexander von Humboldt (21)  |  Knowledge (1647)  |  Measure (241)  |  Must (1525)  |  Naturalist (79)  |  Nature (2017)  |  Other (2233)  |  Possession (68)  |  Specialty (13)  |  Study (701)  |  Subject (543)  |  View (496)  |  Work (1402)


See also:
  • 28 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Agassiz's birth.
  • Louis Agassiz: A Life in Science, by Edward Lurie. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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